The 2018 ASC World Supercomputer Contest (ASC18) has seen more participating teams than ever before. In the following two months, over 300 teams from around the world will take on challenges including AI Answer Prediction for Search Query, cryo-electron microscopy, RELION, and supercomputer benchmarks, HPL and HPCG. The top 20 teams will compete in the final round of the contest in May.
For the first time, this year’s ASC includes both AI and an application used in Nobel Prize-winning research. The AI challenge deals with Answer Prediction for Search Query in natural language reading and comprehension, and is provided by Microsoft. Teams are tasked with creating an AI answer prediction method and model based on massive amounts of data generated by real questions from search engines such as Bing or voice assistants such as Cortana.
ASC18 also includes a Nobel Prize-winning technology, cryo-electron microscopy, whose developers were awarded the 2017 prize in Chemistry. Allowing scientists to solve challenges in structural biology beyond the scope of traditional X-rays and crystallology, Cryo-electron microscopy is based on RELION, a 3D reconstruction software. By including RELION among the challenges of this year’s ASC, the competition organizers aim to keep today’s computing students abreast of the latest cutting-edge developments in scientific discovery and spark their passion for exploring the unknown.
All participating students are provided with a free HPC learning platform, courtesy of the EasyHPC Supercomputing Study House, a key R&D project in China’s national high-performance computing plan. Combining software and hardware based on China’s national HPC environment, the Study House aims to establish a shared HPC educational platform. With this platform, students who lacked supercomputing resources now have the opportunity to study theoretical knowledge and perform high-performance computing coding, with leading resources at their disposal, including the world’s fastest supercomputer.
ASC will also host a two-day training camp for participants starting January 30, featuring speakers including HPC and AI experts from China’s State Key Laboratory of High-end Server & Storage Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Microsoft, Inspur, Intel, Nvidia, and Mellanox. The camp will include sessions on ASC18 rules, cluster building and evaluation, Internet optimization and selection, and an introduction to RELION and Answer Prediction for Search Query. Tsinghua University’s winning team from last year’s ASC17 will also be present to share their experiences in the competition. In this way, ASC hopes to provide this year’s participants with everything they need to perform their best.
The ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge is the world’s biggest student supercomputer competition. The ASC was initiated by China, launched by experts and institutions from Japan, Russia, ROK, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other regions and countries, and has been supported by experts and institutions from the US and across Europe. Through promoting exchanges and furthering the development of talented young minds in the field of supercomputing around the world, the ASC aims to improve applications and R&D capabilities of supercomputing and accelerate technological and industrial innovation.
The first ASC challenge was launched in 2012. Since then, the competition has continued to grow in influence, with more than 1,100 teams and 5,500 young talents from around the world having participated.